Quick Query: What Did Your Parents Do RIGHT?

As human beings, it's part of our nature (I think) to examine what our parents did & didn't do, and (because they, too, are human beings) come up with things that we didn't like so much about our upbringing. I'm sure we could each name something.

Today, though, I just wanted to share with you one thing that my parents did RIGHT, and invite you to do the same. I should say up front that my parents did lots of things well, the most important of which was introducing me to Jesus Christ and teaching me to love and serve Him.

But here's my answer that I was thinking about today (which is why I'm asking the question):
Growing up, my parents instilled in me a firm belief that I could do anything I wanted to if I worked hard enough and put my mind to it. This wasn't in a feminist, "you can be just like a man" sort of way-- but it applied to everything; I really believed that whether in school or with friends or athletics or life goals, if I wanted to accomplish something and worked hard, I could do it.

When I wanted to go to Russia when I was 13, they helped me raise money to go. When I wanted to play junior varsity tennis (despite not being a very athletic teen), they bought me a new racket (with purple strings) for Christmas and encouraged me, and I really enjoyed playing and did well at many tournaments for a year or two. When I switched college majors multiple times (from vocal performance to english to political science), I don't remember ever hearing a, "Give it a rest, Jessica". They cheered me on and let me try things, and (even if I didn't "win" or wasn't "#1") I never felt like I would fail if I gave something a good, honest try .

What this has meant in my life is that when I decided that I wanted to start learning how to be a better cook, my cooking skills rapidly increased. I had confidence that recipes and culinary experiments would turn out all right, and they did and generally do. When I wanted to learn more about crocheting so I could make more interesting projects, I bought a book and dove in-- and now each of my kids has a very unique blanket (I'll post pics of Silas' blanket once I finish!). When I want to learn about something, I know I can set my mind to it and get a good grasp on a subject within a reasonable amount of time. When I've had languages to learn because we've lived overseas, I've not hit a "I can't do this" wall. These are some of the practical, everyday ways that my parents' love and support has affected me. I'm so thankful that they "believed in me" and taught me to work hard to learn about the things that are important to me.

So, today's "quick query" is this:
What's something YOUR parents did right? And how does it affect you in your life today?


Green Eyes said...

Probably "best" the thing my Mom taught me, especially in light of current events, was about money. I was taught, by example, how to live within my means, how to make things work when times were tough. I was also taught from the cradle that credit was nearly always a BAD idea.

In my house, credit cards were for true emergencies only (and thankfully we never had such an occasion). Otherwise, they are REAL MONEY and to be paid off faithfully EVERY MONTH. My mom gave me my first credit card when I was 13 (for very useful and valid reasons), and, needless to say, everyone thought she was crazy. Give a credit card to a 13-yr-old??? A disaster waiting to happen, right? No. Because I knew that bill had to be paid off, and if I spent frivolously, I would have to earn that money to repay my mom.

Maybe it seems silly, but, looking around at my peers (and elders!) today, I can't help but be thankful that I was able to have a healthy outlook and understanding of money and finances from the beginning...

Catherine R. said...

This question is a lot harder for some people, as you must know. It's a good question though, especially since we are called to "honor thy parents" even if they weren't trying very hard to be parents. I used to think that the best thing my mom taught me was not to smoke in bed. As for the two of my parents together...they were only married and communicating up until I was 8 years old and I do have to say that while they were together, they did both compliment me a lot on my artistic skill as a child. They made me feel good about my ability.

Johanna said...

I was thinking along the lines of what Green Eyes said. Once I was in 8th or 9th grade, my parents asked me to come up with how much money I thought I needed for school lunches, youth group activities, clothes, and other miscellaneous expenses. They asked me to put together a proposal with the amounts, then they went over it with me. They asked me to justify my choices and then set a monthly allowance based on my numbers. After that, I was responsible for budgeting the money and paying for all the things we had agreed upon. If I decided I wanted to do an extra expensive activity with my friends, I had to forego something else. They also taught me to tithe and to put some back for savings each month. This has been super valuable to me now that we are working off one income so that I can stay home! I grew up fully understanding the value of a dollar!

Polly said...

Unconditional love. NOTHING in my life has held a candle to the unconditional love my parents showed me. It helped me grasp the concept of God's amazing love for us, assisted me in understanding grace, and set the stage for my love of my husband and son.

the other things that come to mind--
semi-attachment parenting me before it had a name
not allowing sibling rivalry
encouraging me to read and think critically!

Anonymous said...

Mine is similar to yours in that by example my single mom lived out for me that you CAN do what others think is impossible. She worked hard and never gave excuses for herself. She gave her all as a mom, burning the candle at many ends trying to support us with no help.
Though she is not(yet)a believer, she is one of my heros because she never gave up.

Anonymous said...

1. Faith in God
2. Strong work ethic. My mother used to say, "When you receive your pay at the end of the week, be sure that you've really earned it".
3.Don't confuse coarseness with earthiness.


Anonymous said...

The most important thing my parents did right, they weren't even consciously trying to do. My mom and dad were married 49 years before a stroke took my mother in April 2006. My mother stayed home and raised us three girls. My father worked, sometimes two jobs, to provide for us. It was just what they did. They never encouraged us girls to live that way, in fact, my mom wished "more" for her girls.
Fortunately, I didn't listen to her :)
When my mom died, I realized suddenly what was most important and I quickly made changes to quit my job and stay home full time. Soon the Lord blessed me with a second daughter and I am pregnant with another due in 8 weeks. My husband took on a second job to support us. I wish my mom were still alive today so I could tell her that the life she modeled for me is infinitely better than the life she wished for me.

- Jennifer

Terry said...

I couldn't date when I was in high school. At the time I thought my dad was a tyrannical ogre, out of touch with reality. Now I can see that he protected me. I made some mistakes as a young woman when I left home, but I married young, thank God. If I had been free to play the field as a "teenager", who knows how far off the deep end I would've gone!

Catherine R. said...

One more thing I thought of (it is not easy for me to think of things they did right so good challenge for me, Jess!) ...my dad came to the US from Hungary with no English speaking skills and built his own life. He came from dirt poor peasants. It shows me that I can make good choices in life and I don't have to be a victim of my disadvantages.

Sweetpeas said...

My parents have done a great job of accepting that I am an adult. So many of my friends struggle w/ parents, especially mothers, who still seem to think they get to tell their adult kids how to live their lives. My parents trained me well, and then accepted that as an adult I must make my own decisions even if they don't agree with them. But they are also still my parents and I know that I can always go to them for help or advice if I want it.

Jessica said...

I learned to value church from my parents. I also appreciate that as a mother, my mom really respects the way I am raising my children, even if it is different from her practices as a mother or if she doesn't necessarily understand why we do things certain ways in my family. She never questions my decisions as a mom and she respects my wishes.

Susanna said...

My parents were a great example of consistancy- something that is so lacking today. Consistant in their expectations, consistant in their faith and service to God. They showed us from their consistant example what it is to live to Christ and put Him first but also to care for family. They showed us sacrifice- although all my siblings and I went through times of rebellion and doubt, we could never once doubt what we had been taught because of my parent's behaviour. I am so thankful for this.
They also let us go with such grace- they supported me going away to uni,they did not cross examine my intended. They did not make me feel pressure to go for such and such a job, visit home so many times a year, provide grandchildren quickly etc. Of course there are things I want to avoid but I thank God for the grace He gave my parents to raise us as they did.

dcrmom said...

Great idea! I think I'd have to say the same thing, though. My mom was always my biggest cheerleader.

The other thing I'd add is that she was always there to talk to me about anything. I knew if I had a question, I could ask, be it about sex or friendships or anything. I really hope to instill that confidence and trust with my own children.

Domestikate said...

Thank you for asking this question! Being raised in VERY non-Christian environment I always tend to look at the negatives of my upbringing. But your question made me think of the good things my parents did too.

My mom taught me the love of cooking and baking. She also has such a servant's heart. Her house is always open and always has a hot meal or will lend a helping hand when needed. She often sets aside her own wants to help out any one of her six kids. She doesn't always tell us that she loves us, but it does come through in her actions.

My Dad taught me contentment. He faithfully went to his job everyday for over 40 years. I don't think he liked his job, but I seldom heard a complaint. He didn't make much money, but he always brought home a paycheck to his family.

Maybe I'll give them a call tonight and let them know how much I appreciate them. Thanks for the prompt.

Blessed said...

The most important thing my parents taught me was to handle disappointment - unfulfilled expectations, the answer "no", the times when everything in life seems to go wrong - with grace, to accept it instead of fighting it, to see what I can do to make the situation better and then trust God to work all things for my good.

Melissa said...

Can't never could do nothing! My dad used to say this to my sister and I whenever we would say we couldn't do something before we had even tried. I still find myself saying it to myself when I feel so defeated about a task that I am about to take on. My dad taught me that it's better to try and fail then to never try at all.

My mom taught me the strength that is needed to keep the commitment of 'for better or worse'. We went through a lot of hard times as a family during my teenage years. My parents were forced to live in separate homes for many years. As a married adult I look back and see how difficult it was for her. I can recognize the sacrifices she made for my sister and I and the strength it took to stay married. How easy it would have been for her to simply walk away. In my marriage I had to go through a very similar situation. Fortunately, I have the strength of Christ to see me through some of the dark days, but I am also blessed with the example my mother set before me. Her sacrificial, quiet strength.

Thanks for letting me share.


Claire said...

Unconditional love for me and all my siblings. We are each more different than the last, but my parents have always supported our individual gifts without prejudice. My middle brother was (and sometimes still can be!) quite the rebel - but mum and dad's patience is boundless. When my youngest brother decided to give up my dad's favourite sport, not only did dad not pressure him, he took up B's new choice of sport - golf - so that he could do it with him.

They've taught me so much about marriage as well - neither of them is perfect, they can both make their unreasonable demands and sure, they bicker sometimes, but I know that the only earthly bond of love stronger than the one they have for us is the one they have for each other. They are both really dedicated to their marriage.

My dad has taught the importance of hard work and charitable compassion for others. My mother has modelled and encouraged in all of us a love of children and a caring and nurturing nature. In fact, more and more I realise how lucky I am to have a mother who lives out her pro-life principles each day. Whenever we hear of a young woman who has become pregnant out of wedlock, the first words out of her mouth are, 'Oh, how brave she is and will have to be! We must see what we can do for her.' I am always amazed with how she unfailingly saw EVERY baby as a positive, and taught me that every young unmarried mother who chooses life is a hero. I try hard to copy the love she shows.

If I manage half so well with my family as my parents have done, I will be a very lucky and happy woman. Thank you so much for the reminder how lucky we are to have them. I am going to ring them this evening.

Love Claire

Jennelle said...

What my mom [grandmother who raised myself and my two brothers] was to "make" us go to church every Sunday.

Now, when we were kids - as bad as this sounds, we really did not like having to get up early and going, but ...

Now, I am sooo thankful that she did make us!!



James and Jacqui said...

Perhaps the most important thing my mum and dad taught my brother, sister and I was to be obedient to God....If we wanted to do something or get something they would often say 'have you asked God about it?' or 'let's ask the Holy Spirit now what He wants you to do....what is he telling you?'

That taught us how to hear God's voice for ourselves and how to be obedient to Him

We didn't always like it, I can't think of any of our Christian friends who's parents made them do that... But I am sure glad that our parents did!

As for how it affects my life today... I want to make sure I am doing what God wants in every area of life. Definitely one thing I want to teach my kids!